How Alexander Skarsgård Got Into Shape for Prince Amleth in ‘The Northman’

The Northman, the most recent film from auteur director Robert Eggers, is a violent and metaphysical rendition of Hamlet set in the course of the age of the Vikings. The movie is a brutal revenge story following Prince Amleth’s quest to avenge his father and save his mom after his uncle usurps the throne. You don’t must be an professional in Norse mythology to know that in case you plan on murdering your option to Valhalla, you’ll want some sick traps and abs to perform your purpose. To organize for the lead position in The Northman, Alexander Skarsgård labored out intensely and altered his eating regimen to grow to be a warrior prince hellbent on vengeance. 

Alexander Skarsgård’s bodily look has been important in his most-seen roles

Alexander Skarsgard on the LA premiere of ‘The Northman’ | Michael Tran/AFP by way of Getty Photos

Amleth isn’t the primary mythological character Alexander Skarsgård has performed. His mainstream breakthrough was in the HBO sequence True Blood as vampire Eric Northman (no relation). Since then, most of the Swedish actor’s signature performances are variations on a theme: conventionally good-looking males with extra occurring behind their eyes than the surface world is aware of, for higher and worse. 

In Massive Little Lies, Skarsgård performed Perry Wright. On the floor, his marriage with Celeste (Nicole Kidman) seems to be good, nevertheless it turns into more and more clear he’s a monster behind the scenes. In barely smaller initiatives, like A Diary of a Teenage Lady and The Little Drummer Lady, Skarsgård additionally portrays characters with loads of secrets and techniques. His physique additionally lends itself to much less high-minded fare, comparable to when he performed the titular character in 2016’s The Legend of Tarzan reboot. 

Alexander Skarsgård put himself by means of the wringer to organize for ‘The Northman’

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Starring in The Northman is the success of a childhood dream for Skarsgård. He’d been fascinated by the tales of Viking adventures since studying about them from his grandfather in his youth.

“I had this dream of one day making a big, epic Viking movie, but based on an old Icelandic saga,” he advised Vanity Fair. As soon as he obtained the prospect to satisfy his fantasy, he spared no expense in getting ready himself for the bodily problem of portraying a practical Viking. 

To rework into Amleth, Skarsgård turned to the identical coach he used for Tarzan — fellow Swede Magnus Lygdback. He tailor-made the actor’s exercise routine to make the extra feral components of Skarsgård’s efficiency as plausible as potential. 

“This character, his spiritual animals were a bear and wolf. So that is exactly what we were trying to embody in terms of Alex’s build and movements,” Lygdback advised Selection. “The wolf is really agile, and then you have the size of the bear in this Viking. You can just get one look at him and get scared. That was [the elevator pitch] for what we were trying to achieve [with Alex’s transformation].”

Skarsgård’s exercise routine — which Lygdback describes as “a hybrid between plyometrics training and old-school bodybuilding philosophy” — started three months earlier than manufacturing began. They did six one-hour fitness center classes per week (one a day) earlier than lowering them to a few of 4 after COVID-19 lockdown went into impact.

On the top of the pandemic, they labored out of a DIY coaching facility in Skarsgård’s storage. They targeted on the actor’s shoulders, hips, and core, utilizing instruments like resistance bands, battle ropes, and throwing workout routines when extra conventional energy machines weren’t out there. (The complete checklist of his exercises might be discovered in Men’s Health.)

Lygdback additionally dictated Skarsgård’s eating regimen, amounting to about 3,700 energy a day. He ate 5 instances a day each couple of hours, incrementally constructing physique mass by taking in extra energy than he was burning. Skarsgård often started the day with 4 eggs and a protein-based snack. Lunch consisted of a clear meal (Lygdback defines it as a protein, a vegetable, and a sluggish carb or a fats), adopted by a snack and a clear dinner. 

The arduous work paid off in the actor’s extremely praised performances

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Making The Northman was an ordeal for Alexander Skarsgård. However the remaining product is more likely to be remembered as one of many 12 months’s finest films, and his efficiency is without doubt one of the predominant causes. 

Skarsgård embodies Amleth with all the fury and thirst for blood that drives all of his strikes all through the movie. Viking films are surprisingly few and much between, and most aren’t value watching. However after seeing The Northman, you’ll discover it arduous to think about anybody else dwelling as much as the historical past or the legend. 

The remainder of the solid has additionally acquired reward, as has cinematographer Jarin Blaschke for the movie’s visible model that melds the grim actuality and the cosmic creativeness with ease. 

The Northman is finally a triumph of Robert Eggers’ imaginative and prescient, subversive storytelling selections, and talent to make films on a much bigger scale. It’s the director’s most accessible movie by far, though that’s not saying a lot contemplating the area of interest rhythms of The Witch and The Lighthouse.

Sadly, that inventive success hasn’t translated into huge monetary returns but. In accordance with Box Office Mojo, The Northman has made about $52 million on a reported $90 million funds. 

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